I’ve been had.
Well, I have to say that my plan worked perfectly.
Even before he became a pilot, I always knew that Dad would make an amazing writer. An amazing storyteller. It was an easy conclusion to come to, as I have been his most rapt audience since before I could talk.
That’s why I convinced him to start this blog, almost two years ago. I even went along when he told me that he wanted it to be a joint project! (I try my best.) Now look at it. Thousands upon thousands of hits, records broken just this month. Awards. Hundreds of regular readers. I’m proud of him.
Storytelling and a love of flight have always run strong in our family.
Grandpa used to regale my Dad with stories of American fighters roaring overhead at the height of World War II, and of how my Grandfather was shanghaied into repairing Japanese planes at Nielsen Field (whose runways now serve as Makati city’s main arteries). It was there that he gained an appreciation for Japanese food, another thing that seems to have been passed on to the succeeding generations…
I was named after one of Dad’s favorite storytellers, his Uncle Carlos. A large and friendly man who was in the habit of raiding relatives’ refrigerators, he filled Dad’s head with stories of flight and adventure. Parents, watch out what your nutty relatives tell your kids! Your kid just might be inspired to do crazy things – like becoming a pilot.
Love for stories is in both my blood and my name. I suppose the English literature course and the teaching job were inevitable. Not that I’m complaining.
So it’s a great honor to see Dad’s storytelling prospering here. I think I’ll get him to write a book next!
As for me, the past year has brought its share of stories. Adventures. Flight. And yes, romance. Dad’s categories were well chosen, it seems…
I’ve reached that point in my flying where I can comfortably take close friends up for a sightseeing tour unlike any they’ve ever seen. Old promises dating from my student pilot days are being kept.
Take this guy. Professor Ambeth Ocampo is the head of the National Historical Institute, has worked with presidents, and hopes to write the great Philippine History book. For all that, he seems to have the most fun shocking, entertaining, and teaching his students all about the myriad craziness that most historians leave out of the books. Check out his book, Rizal Without the Overcoat, for fun facts and insights into the life of our quirky and passionate national hero!
I wrote a paper for his class once, and mentioned my pilot’s license offhand. He wrote a short note asking about it, and I half-seriously invited him to go flying!
I got an A on that one, I think. Coincidence.
Nearly a year after I graduated, I took him flying over Mexico, a town whose history he had written about in his column in the Inquirer.
Kate Teng is one of the smiliest, most lovable friends I have, and also one of the most adventurous!
It was no surprise when she took me up on my offer.
Funny how psychology students do crazy things sometimes. She loved seeing Mount Arayat from the air, and applauded as I performed chandelles and steep turns among the clouds south of Magalang. Her smile says it all.
Nina is the first non-aviator member of my family to go up in the air with me. She was always rather different from the rest of our cousins. Deep thinker, book lover, effusively joyful. This was only her second flight ever. On her first, in an airliner, she was bursting with excitement as the plane left the ground and marveled at how everyone else on board could possibly be bored.
Imagine her reaction to an oscillation stall.
I don’t think I’ve ever had a passenger who had this much sheer, squealing delight flying with me!
In December, it was my turn to be introduced to a new and thrilling experience, as I was treated to not one, but TWO flights in something called a Beech Baron.
This sleek and elaborate contraption had twin engines, constant speed propellers, retractable gear, radar, and fuzzy seat covers. All new experiences. Oh, and one of the flights was at night. More on that soon!
Dad and I went on our holiday air trip, passing through Baguio, San Fernando, Vigan, and Baler! Each destination was a new adventure, and the trip deserves its own article. I will say, though, that the climb out from Baler gave me a new appreciation for wind’s effects on one’s fllight path…
This year has been a tumultuous one for me. I would even go so far as to describe it in Dickens’ words: the best of times, the worst of times. I suffered a massive delay in achieving a dream I’ve been cultivating for over six years, dealing irrecoverable damage in the process. But I also achieved a dream I hadn’t thought I would find until I was much older. An entry on my list of things to do before I die.
The entry was “love and be loved by the most beautiful woman on earth.”
If you want an apt and detailed description of her, send a poet over here, because I don’t have words that will do her justice. But I’m gushing again.
I’ve had more heavy crosswinds, structural damage, and VFR flight through IFR conditions this year than in any of my 22 years on this planet. But I’ve also had more than my share of uplifting things.
I wonder what 2009 will bring.
Posted from Manila, February 6, 2009
Next: Flying North